July 3, 2014

Training Camp Recap: The Website Challenge

It’s been a whirlwind of a first week here at Training Camp.  We’ve had great speakers, great events, worked hard and played hard. One of the highlights so far was the Website Challenge, where the Fellows were tasked to redesign the VFA website- in less than 72 hours.  Here’s how it all went down.

The Training

We didn’t want to throw the Fellows into the challenge unprepared- we’re not that heartless! – so Tuesday and Wednesday were packed with workshops in web design and development.  We kicked things off with Jennifer Smith, co-founder of the American Graphics Institute, who led a workshop on good design practices.  Spencer Rogers of The Flatiron School took over from there, with a 2-day crash course on web development.  His training included a bunch of small projects that gave the fellows a feel for playing around with websites.

The Challenge

The challenge was to create a fully functioning website that would be better then VFA’s current site, all in less than 3 days.  After hours of hard work and a couple sleepless nights, the 2014’ers presented their websites bright and early Thursday morning.  James Kwon, founder of Figmints, and Miles Lasater, founder of Higher One, were present as guest judges.

Congrats to our winners!

The runners-up:

Team 19 (Alex Baca, Galen Foote, Kelly Payne, Muhga Eltigani, Stephen Rees) in 3rd Place
Team 8 (Austin Blouin, Jennifer Galamba, Kevin Suh, Stephanie Johnson, Swad Komanduri) in 2nd Place

And the winner…

Team 18!
(Danny Allen, Dylan Gordon, Hadley Stein, Jacob Robinson, Molly Adair)
team18Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 9.40.02 PMTeam 18’s website navigation and original content (including the infographics to the right) were impressive. The judges weighed in, and thought Team 18 created the best combination of clean, functional design and VFA branding. Go Team 18!

Creating an entire website in less than 3 days, with little to no experience in web development for most, is a daunting task – however, the Fellows learned this week what they’re really capable of. The most successful teams sought feedback and used the resources they had– just like a real design firm would. Great work everyone!

And some other highlights..

Diversity Discussion

Mid-week, we began addressing the issue of diversity with open discussion group lunches. From gender, to race, to differing backgrounds and experiences, no discussion was left off the table. While our Fellows have all had different experiences with what diversity means for them, it was amazing to see them come together for an open and honest discussion. We couldn’t be more proud of how thoughtful and open-minded they are.

Ice Cream!

And how did we unwind after the website challenge? Treats, of course! We had an ice cream social catered by Rhode Island’s own Jack’s Ice Cream Truck.  It was the perfect way to unwind post-Website Challenge!  I scream, you scream…
Stay tuned for more from Week 2 of Training Camp, and check out #VFABootcamp Live for real-time social media updates!

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